Eating well goes beyond keeping our bodies physically healthy. What we put into our stomachs affects how well, stressed, depressed or anxious we feel. It can be the difference between happiness and sadness and greatly influence the state of our mental health. This summer, make sure your family is eating and feeling well, together.
Don't Change Everything Immediately
You may be met with resistance from all parties involved if you come home and proclaim a sudden ban on cookies, ice cream and pizza. Instead, start filtering things out of your diets over the course of the summer. Start by swapping out some things for healthier versions. Low-sugar frozen yogurt instead of ice cream and whole grains instead of processed and bleached ones. Cut back on the amount of carbs you cook by adding vegetables to flesh out a meal, like using thin slices of squash or carrot to mimic pasta.
Portion Things Correctly
There are plenty of bad side effects that come with eating more than the proper portion size. Most obviously, you'll be getting more calories than you should be for a specific meal. However, it also encourages continual overeating, as well as leads us to underestimate how much we're consuming. It may only seem like one serving on our plate, but in reality, it's two or three. One way to fight this habit is to decrease the size of your dinnerware. Smaller plates not only hold less food, the portion will look larger in comparison. Always check the packaging your food comes in to really understand what each portion looks like. You may assume that one package is one serving, but this is often not the case. You may need to invest in a kitchen scale to really measure out how much of each food your family should be eating.
Many of us know how eating quickly can lead to overeating. We end up eating more than we need because we finish before our brain has released the chemical to tell our stomach, stop, we're full. However, eating slowly can lead to better digestion overall. You will chew better and come away more satiated. By taking our time, we allow our bodies to properly prepare for the incoming meal, including both our saliva and our stomachs. You may even feel fuller longer thanks to taking the time to actually enjoy your food. Teach the whole family to chew properly, and to put their utensils down between bites. Have your loved ones eat each meal at home together. This can stimulate conversation, which can also slow down eating.
Keep Healthy Food on Hand
We all love our snacks. Eating small nibbles between meals can keep blood sugar stable and metabolisms up. Unfortunately, many of us grab whatever is nearest, and tastiest, rather than what is best for us. It may take a little extra work, but have some healthy snacks ready to eat on hand for everyone to grab when they need a boost. For instance, kale chips take only 10 to 20 minutes to make and are a nice alternative to potatoes. Chopped fruit and vegetables can be dipped into yogurt for a bit of extra fiber and protein. Apples and cheese feel luxurious and can be made low-fat. Toasted nuts give a satisfying crunch, and if sprinkled with kosher salt, can cure that salty-chip craving easily. You may be surprised by how small changes can add up. By eating just a few more fresh fruits and vegetables and by limiting how many processed foods you eat, your whole family may be healthier and happier by the end of summer.
Thank you, Dylan Foster of HealthWellWise.com for your guest post!
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